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  • With her sultry stare and charming smile, Marilyn Monroe was the epitome of American glamour in the 1950s and early 60s. Idolized and emulated, her whirlwind life was only eclipsed by her tragic and premature demise in 1962. Her death represented a certain loss of American innocence and its impact was felt around the world. When Andy Warhol decided to create a series in her honor, he moved away from his gilded stylized drawings of the 1950s and worked instead with his newly found silkscreen techniques that he had previously used for his Coke Bottle and Dollar Bills series. Warhol's first Marilyn Monroe series in 1962 represented a dynamic shift in the artist's style and career. He moved farther away from his 1950s illustrating roots and towards the bold and visually striking multiples of celebrities that characterized his career in the early 1960s.

    Warhol used as his original image of Monroe a publicity still from her 1953 movie, Niagara. Taken nine years before the screen idol’s death on August 5, 1962, the image is the quintessential portrayal of Monroe during her meteoric rise to fame: lips suggestively parted, eyes sensuously relaxed, hair styled to perfection. Warhol’s choice of this particular publicity still hit a tragic note when his first Marilyns went on display in Castelli Gallery in 1962, shortly after his subject’s death; many spectators wept at the face before them, which bore the innocence of the 27-year old’s early career, far before the price of fame and illness took their fatal toll. Warhol ultimately preserved Marilyn Monroe’s dazzling, youthful image, one that would give her equal fame after her death.

     

    Publicity still of Marilyn Monroe for the film Niagara (1953), showing crop marks made by Andy Warhol; Warhol’s source image for all the Marilyn portraits.
    • Condition Report

    • Description

      View our Conditions of Sale.

    • Provenance

      Sotheby's, New York, Prints, May 1, 2009, lot 325
      Private Collection, acquired from the above by the present owner.

    • Literature

      Frayda Feldman and Jörg Schellmann 24

    • Artist Biography

      Andy Warhol

      American • 1928 - 1987

      Known as the “King of Pop,” Andy Warhol was the leading face of the Pop Art movement in the United States in the 1960s. Following an early career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol achieved fame with his revolutionary series of silkscreened prints and paintings of familiar objects like Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities like Marilyn Monroe. Obsessed with popular culture, celebrity, and advertising, Warhol created his slick, seemingly mass-produced images of everyday subject matter from his famed Factory studio in New York City. His use of mechanical methods of reproduction, notably the commercial technique of silk screening, wholly revolutionized art-making.

      Working as an artist, but also director and producer, Warhol produced a number of avant-garde films in addition to managing the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground and founding Interview magazine. A central figure in the New York art scene until his untimely death in 1987, Warhol was notably a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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73

Marilyn (F. & S. 24)

1967
Screenprint in colors, on wove paper, the full sheet.
S. 36 x 36 in. (91.4 x 91.4 cm)
Signed with initials and dated in pencil and stamp-numbered 41/250 on the reverse (there were also 26 artist's proofs lettered A-Z), published by Factory Additions, New York, framed.

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Estimate
$200,000 - 300,000 

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Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 19-21 October 2021